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Tips To Overcome Overwhelm

"Chunk it down" to make big projects smaller

by Miriam Salpeter-Keppie Careers  |  1610 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."  – Mark Twain, in The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield

It seems obvious – you can’t be successful until you get started.  You can’t get started on everything at once, so break it down and work on one thing at a time.

My friend and business coach Cindy Peterseil introduced me to a term that describes this basic, yet important idea: “chunk it down.” 

As a career coach, I advise my clients to “chunk down” their tasks so they won’t be overwhelmed by the process of finding a job.  It’s great advice for any of us facing lots to do and not enough time.  (That pretty much describes all moms I know!)

Some tips for “chunking it down”:

1.) Review your assignments and goals.  Create a list of everything you need to do.  Make sure you have a complete picture of the tasks and create a time frame.

2.) Break down the project into natural segments.  For a job seeker, “write a resume” may be one project.  “Make a networking plan” is another task.  Prioritize the segments and think about how much time each piece will take to complete.

3.) Focus on one thing at a time. Compile a daily “to do” list.  Make sure it is reasonable; don’t give yourself too many tasks on one day.  Depending on the job and your patience, you may need to further chunk down the steps. (No one should expect to write a resume in a day!)

To decide what to do first, consult your list of priorities.  To keep your focus, try to include some fun, interesting or simple tasks early on.  If you're doing things you enjoy or finish rapidly, you'll give your project a boost and quickly check things off of your “to do” list.

4.) Plan ahead.  Make sure you have everything you need to work on your task as scheduled. 

5.) Seek help.  It helps to have a good support system.  Ask for advice when you’re really stuck and to ensure that you are on the right track. 

6.) Reward yourself.  Celebrate your accomplishments.  Enjoy a quiet bath or an extra long run. Have an ice cream cone. Go shopping!

Get ahead by getting started... timeless advice for busy moms everywhere!


About the Author

Miriam Salpeter is a career coach and resume writer ( offering practical tips, encouragement and clarity about the job search. Visit her blog:

Read more by Miriam Salpeter-Keppie Careers

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